Young Researcher Workshop

Thursday, November 2, 2023
1:00 PM - 2:00 PM

Goldman Room, Encina Hall, E409

  • Xinyao Qiu, Ph.D. Candidate in Economics, Stanford University

Information Inequality in Major Choices

Speaker: Xinyao Qiu, Ph.D. Candidate in Economics at Stanford University

I study disparities in college major choices across students from different socioeconomic backgrounds and analyze their implications for intergenerational income mobility. One potential explanation for these disparities is differential access to information about majors’ academic content and personal fit. To explore the role of information frictions on major choices, I use administrative data from the centralized college application system in China. Consistent with the information inequality hypothesis, I document that students of low socioeconomic status (SES) are 21.6% (3.16 percentage points) more likely than their high-SES peers to choose majors familiar to them from their high school curricula. Further support for the information inequality hypothesis comes from an online survey experiment in which high school students report their expectations about college majors and from information spillovers among high school classmates. To discuss the economic consequences of information inequality, I calibrate a major choice model to my data and find that, because of a lack of information, low-SES students face higher mismatch rates and lower future incomes. Counterfactual analyses indicate that information interventions or affirmative action policies can effectively narrow the income gap across socioeconomic backgrounds.

About the Workshops

The SCCEI Young Researcher Workshops are a bi-weekly series of presentations from scholars around campus who are working on issues related to China’s economy and institutions. The aim of the series is to bring together young scholars by providing a platform to present new research, get feedback, exchange ideas, and make connections. Each session features a single presenter who may present a new research plan, share results from preliminary data analyses, or do a trial run of a job talk or conference presentation. The Workshop Series is an opportunity to give and receive feedback on existing research, get to know other researchers around campus who are working on or in China, and be a testing ground for new ideas, data, and presentations.

Workshops are held every other Thursday from 1 - 2 pm. Afternoon refreshments will be provided! 

Visit the Young Researcher Workshops webpage for more information on the content and format of the series and to learn how to sign up to present.